Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Breast Feeding Tips

Or should I call them, tipples. Ha! I crack myself up with these puns. It's in my blood. My dad, Poppy, is King of Puns. So is my Uncle Bill. It's been passed down through the generations.

Anywho, I've been thinking a lot lately about breast feeding, and certain things that helped me or worked really well in those early weeks and months. I've been talking lately with lots of new or almost mamas, and our conversations have jogged my memory regarding the precious early months of breastfeeding. And I thought I'd share some things that have been brought back to the forefront of my mind. Partially, because I don't want to forget them for my next babydoll! And partially, because I want people to know that it doesn't come easy. I talk about it alot because I love it so much, and it's been a huge part of my everyday life this year.

But for new mamas...don't think it was perfect, and that maybe you are doing something wrong. It takes work, practice, and consistency. If it's hard in the beginning, stick with it, ask questions, because it's hard for many - you are not alone. Sucking is an instinct for babes, but breastfeeding must be taught to them. Reilly, in the beginning, didn't latch on one of breasts. It took weeks before she stayed on and could latch on correctly. And some of my friends have had a much harder time, but they stuck with it. I tell you this because I would never want someone to read about my joyful breast feeding experience, and think, well it came so easy for her, maybe I'm doing something wrong. Maybe my baby just can't do it. Maybe I just can't do it.

Well, I think you can do it. And here are some tipples that helped me in the beginning. Little things that may not be in the books.

1. Send Hubby or BFF or the mailman to the store. Ask him to get your favorite candy. Put it in a Ziplock bag next to your bed, or rocking chair, or where ever you feed baby. Eat this candy when you breastfeed. I didn't eat mine during the day, I made it my midnight treat. It gave me a little jolt of sugar to keep me awake, and gave me a little positive-reinforcement-esque reward at every feeding. Every 2 hours. All night. Oh, and it's guilt-free candy eating, because baby is taking SO many calories from you! Woo!

2. Get a giant waterbottle that you love, stick a straw in it, and keep it full. I have this one from Life is Good. I carry it everywhere, even in restaurants, which may or may not be acceptable. But I don't care, I'm breastfeeding, it's for my baby. So there. Anyway, hydration is so important. They say you should drink a good amount while your feeding, too. So fill it up with your fav beverage, non alcoholic preferably, and drink up!

3. When baby is new new new, they will fall asleep all the time while feeding. I mean all. the. time. The old addage of "Do not wake a sleeping baby!" does not apply to breastfed babies. You must wake them every 2 hours, because they will only give you 1 good stretch of sleep a day (5 hours or so) and you want to train them to do that stretch at night. So wake them every 2 hours during the day, and let em go as long as they will at night.
So the nurse taught me to keep my finger right under Reilly's jaw while I fed, and to look at the little spot next to her ear while she sucked. If the little part of her jaw next to her ear was moving, she was eating. If not, I tapped under her jaw very lightly, and poof! She started sucking again. Awesome tip for me.

4. Do not feel badly when you hear that your friends babies are sleeping 12 hours at 4 weeks. Formula fed babies sleep longer right off the bat, because it is so heavy in their stomach. The vast majority of breastfed babies will not sleep for very long stretches for a while, because it moves through them so fast. But bonus - their poop will never smell! :)

5. Once the baby is about 5 weeks old, start pumping! Pumping in the morning (before noon sometime) will give you a better pump (more milk) because your hormones are much higher. Pump and store the milk in the freezer, and save for Dad to give a bottle at night. This will give you a nice stretch of sleep that you havn't had since pre-pregnancy.

6. Get a breastfeeding shawl or coverup, and bring it everywhere you go. You'll be so happy you did. And then you'll breastfeed everywhere and anywhere before you know what hit ya. And trust me, half the people around you won't even notice. Until babe is 8 months like Rei and pull the shawl off her mid-feed to play peek-a-boo. Awesome.

7. Regarding that glass of wine that you want to have. But don't know when to have, because baby gets everything you drink or eat via the milk. I read this, and it's the best tip I got - if you're okay to drive, your okay to breastfeed. So you can have wine, or anything else for that matter, as long as it doesn't affect you too much. And if you had too much, grab that frozen milk you pumped!

That's what I got right now, girls. I share this with you because the number one thing you need in order to breastfeed, besides breasts, is support. Support from professionals with information, support from other mamas who have tips, and support from Hubbies and family.

So here I am, a mama full of information and opinions, saying "You can do it, mama!" Go for it. Breast feed that baby. You'll be happy you did it.

Love & Tipples,

Dirt Roadd Mama

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